Departments of Justice and State Host First-of-its-Kind Regional Symposium on Women in Law Enforcement and Security in Asia

2 weeks ago

Given the critical role that women play in the security sector, combating organized crime, terrorism, and violent extremism, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of State joined forces the week of May 22 to 26, 2023, to host an Asia-Pacific Regional Symposium on Women in Law Enforcement in Denpasar, Indonesia. Increasing women’s participation in law enforcement bolsters operational effectiveness and expands police institutions’ ability to engage in local communities.

The event, which is being attended by approximately 70 law enforcement professionals from eight nations around the globe, amplifies regional and strategic objectives in empowering women as meaningful, essential contributors to security, law enforcement, and counterterrorism. The symposium also provides a forum for participants to undertake career-development training, engage in networking opportunities, and bolster the advancement of women in law enforcement. The symposium includes participants from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

“We are educating ourselves and our partners on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in law enforcement; it’s time to focus on intentional strategies to change norms and power structures hampering progress toward greater equality,” said Director Gregory Ducot of the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP). “We hope the connections made this week will advance women in this field and provide them with the resources needed to assist with their career development, ultimately moving the counterterrorism mission forward.”

“The Engaging Multinational Policewomen on Equality and Rights (EMPoWER) program is so incredibly valuable in identifying those who can be agents of change in their institutions and societies,” said Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, the Department of State’s Special Representative for Guantanamo Affairs. “Their ability to be not only professionally curious but also introspective means that they can use the training and best practices provided, apply those lessons to their own environment, and use those tools to help them advance further in their respective organizations. There is no question that in promoting the integration of women into the senior ranks of law enforcement and counterterrorism, we are expanding inclusivity of all groups and promoting a diverse force that can react credibly to communal needs – thereby helping to prevent the growth of radicalism wherever it may take root.”

In addition, the symposium provides opportunities for senior men and women in U.S. and international security careers to have meaningful interactions with women in the security professions in multiple Asia-Pacific countries.

Symposium presenters include:

  • Special Representative for Guantanamo Affairs Ambassador Tina Kaidanow;
  • FBI International Operations Division Section Chief Ashley Johnson;
  • Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kate Rebholz; and
  • Chief (Ret.) Melissa Hyatt, Baltimore County Police Department, Baltimore, Maryland

Discussion highlights include:

  • Executive panels focused on “What Makes a Great Leader” and “Women in Security;”
  • Leadership training, highlighting change management, emotional intelligence, and leadership styles; and
  • Presentations on Global Terrorism Trends and Emerging Threats in Asia, Corrections and Intelligence Development, and Social Media to Counter Violent Extremism.

The Asia-Pacific Regional Symposium on Women in Law Enforcement was organized by: The U.S. Department of Justice’s ICITAP and its EMPoWER program, the Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT), and the Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

The EMPoWER program, a partnership between the Departments of Justice and State, builds the capacity of women to combat terrorism by supporting them through the provision of leadership and technical training and mentorship. Previous EMPoWER-led regional symposiums were held in March 2022 in Opatija, Croatia, and in June 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya.

To learn more about ICITAP’s capacity building programs around the world, visit

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